Since 1832, the Longines brand has devoted itself to manufacturing high precision timepieces. In that time, they’ve built a reputation in the field of aviation and sports. Charles Lindbergh himself wore a Longines watch during his history-making trans-Atlantic flight and later went on to develop his own watch with the manufacturer in the 1930s. With a rich history and respected reputation, Longines continues to introduce watches that are innovative in design. Each model remains faithful to the company's values of tradition, elegance, quality, and accuracy. Buying a Longines watch means owning a valuable piece of horological history. Enjoy our selection of exceptional used Longines watches for sale.
Longines first established in Saint-Imier 1832 with Auguste Agassiz and his brother-in-laws Henri Raiguel and Florian Morel. The company began as a comptoir, a trading office that collected components and re-distributed the parts to individual watchmakers. Shortly after, they began to move away from this model and founded their own assembly facility. Here, they started to make and sell pocket watches, and the company soon took their wares international. Agassiz leveraged family connections in the United States, and the brand became hugely successful abroad.
Eventually, Raiguel and Morel left the business. When Agassiz was ready to retire in 1852, he brought in his nephew, Ernest Francillon, to take over. Francillon continued to carry on his uncle’s progressive spirit. By 1867, he had purchased land for a new, state-of-the-art factory south of Saint-Imier. The area was called “les longines” and ultimately gave the company its name, as we know it today. Later that year, Longines produced its first movement: the 20A. This twenty-line caliber featured an anchor escapement in addition to a pendant winding and setting mechanism. The 20A was a great success and went on to win an award at the Universal Exhibition in Paris.
With the new name and growing prominence, Longines officially adopted their winged hourglass logo. They engraved this iconic insignia on every watch movement, and the Longines name graced every dial.
Over the next decade, Longines would adopt the American method of industrialization. Together, Francillon and the company’s technical director, Jacques David, created a mechanized production system for Longines. Within two years of developing new mechanical procedures, Longines debuted a simple chronograph movement in 1878: the 20H caliber. By 1880, Longines had built out enough production capabilities to craft all their movements entirely in-house.
The remainder of the nineteenth century continued to be fruitful for Longines, with a strong presence remaining in America. By 1886, the brand’s chronographs had become the unofficial watch of New York’s sport officials. They were particularly popular in the sport of horse racing. Two years later, they unveiled their first certified chronometer movement, the 21.59 caliber. With the company’s rapidly growing success, Francillon decided to register their logo in 1889. A few years later in 1893, he filed both the brand name and logo with the United International Bureau for the Protection of Intellectual Property, the precursor to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Today, Longines is the oldest brand name registered with the WIPO.
Longines’ prosperity perpetuated into the next century. In 1900, the brand won the Grand Prix at the Universal Exhibition in Paris. They did so with a pocket watch called La Renommee featuring the 21.59 caliber. By 1913, they had designed their first caliber for a wristwatch with a single push piece: the 13.33Z. Into the 1920s and 30s, Longines began specializing in navigation instruments. They became the official supplier of the International Aeronautical Federation and started working with naval forces shortly after. Along with U.S. Naval officer Philip Van Weems, they patented the Longines Weems Second-Setting Watch in 1927. Four years later, Longines worked with the legendary Charles Lindbergh to further this technology with the Lindbergh Hour Angle watch.
The 1950s marked the first appearance of popular Longines collections we know today. They debuted the Conquest in 1954 as their first official family of models. The line was such a success, they launched another just three years later: the Flagship. However, the next decade brought about change for Longines and the industry. In the midst of the Quartz Crisis, Longines produced its first cybernetic quartz caliber for a wristwatch: the Ultra-Quartz. Shortly after, they introduced their first digital watch: the Longines LCD. The model went on to receive the IR100 award at the Annual Industrial Research Conference and Awards in 1972.
For the remainder of the 1970s and early 80s, Longines shifted their focus to ultra-thin calibers, both quartz and mechanical. In 1977, they unveiled the flattest self-winding movement of the time. The L990 had a height of just 2.95mm. Two years later, they released an ultra-thin quartz caliber measuring just 1.98mm thick. This was the first timepiece to break the 2mm barrier. In 1982, they honored their founder with the Agassiz line. These 18-karat gold, ultra-thin watches would later inspire the La Grande Classique collection. Still, more change was on the horizon for Longines. In 1983, the Société Suisse de Microélectronique et d’Horlogerie, today known as the Swatch Group, acquired Longines.
Into the next decades, Longines continued to release new collections. In 1997, they debuted the DolceVita, a contemporary line appealing to the up and coming generation of collectors. Into the new millennium, Longines launched the Evidenza collection in 2003. Two years later, they introduced the Longines Master Collection. In 2007, they presented the Longines Sport collection. This included four different lines: the existing Conquest collection along with the HydroConquest, GrandVitesse, and Admiral. Their momentum continued with the PrimaLuna collection in 2009 and Saint-Imier collection in 2012. In 2013, they introduced the Conquest Classic line as well as the Avigation Oversize Crown as part of the brand’s line of specialized aviation timepieces.
Longines’ unshakable spirit of invention has persisted into recent years. Each year, the brand continues to release a wide array of new models to suit any unique taste. For instance, in 2019 alone, they added two models to their Heritage collection: the Classic Sector and the Military 1938. In addition, they introduced a PVD edition of their Legend Diver and a moonphase edition within their Master Collection.
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